Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Fight of Our Life to Change the Direction of Our Country

by Dorothy Johnson

NEW HAVEN, CT – There was much to celebrate at the 89th anniversary of the Communist Party USA in New Haven on December 7. Our allies, unionists and friends, joined together this year to work diligently to elect our first African American president Barack Obama. Folks in the pavement in Bridgeport Connecticut to defeat the last standing Congressional Republican Chris Shays . Newly elected Jim Himes is vowing to take the people’s agenda forward.

There is a movement in our country that America can get back on the right track. This even will never be forgotten.

The Amistad awards were given to three outstanding fighters for their resounding struggle for justice.

Juan Hernandez, assistant district leader SEIU 32 BJ Justice for Janitors has been involved in not only political campaigns but helped organize the first successful union drive in Fairfield County and New Haven County for janitors. This organizing drive helped increase wages and improve health benefits. Juan knows that he must continue to be the leader that he is so that we can get the Employee Free Choice Act and good immigrant rights.

Kathy Jackson is president of the Connecticut chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, vice president of the Hartford Labor Council, member of Voting Rights Act committee. Kathy’s dedication and outspoken manner has helped others to join the movement in our struggles for equal rights for all. She was very appreciative that she was even thought of for this award. Her years of work speaks for itself.

Al Marder a leader and activist has been in the forefront for decades. Al was an organizer for the Communist Party in 1952. Where there was injustice you would always find Al. He organized with others the City of New Haven Peace Commission in the late 80's. He has served on the United Nations International Association of Peace Messenger Cities. One of his projects was to reproduce the vessel the Amistad in 1994. It is hard to find Al who keeps on keeping on. You might get tired but Al won’t let you stop. It’s forward we go.

Our guests were entertained with music by the Rabble Rousers who would get you clapping and stopping to the beat of the music. One of the musicians Bill Collins spent time in Virginia prior to the election organizing and playing music for the union members in Virginia.

This year’s greeting book is dedicated to the memory of Merrilee Milstein, a friend, wife and mother. Most people remember her from her 1199 days as an organizer. She was a person who would take you by the hand and help you to the finish line. Merrilee’s presence is till with us when we go through these tough organizing drives. Just remember the courage and efforts of a woman who helped change the labor movement.

Now that the election is over and people prepare for a great inauguration we must keep the unity that we have in 2008 and work and push the people’s agenda to the White House. The ball is in our court.

This year’s event and greeting book put Connecticut over the top in the People’s Weekly World fund drive and is help cover the cost of the papers that are distributed on a weekly basis all year round.